“In a press release Thursday, the committee accused the Pentagon of not being upfront about what it knew:”
This is a pet peeve.
Look: “Upfront” is not a word.
Sometimes you can just see that a relationship is in trouble. From the outset.
To the one, I owe a certain apology. Or maybe I should blame McGettigan. See, acknowledging a particular stick-figure comic strip, I tried explaining to my daughter how to go about drawing cartoon figures differently. The thing with setting hard outlines and then detailing is … er … well, right, we should probably pass that one off to a design specialist to explain. But I learned to draw stillframe cartoons by tracing Wasserman and Trudeau, and the first thing I learned in doing so was to save certain outlines and borders for last.
Nor can I say how anyone else actually does it, but the whole point was to get past a certain drawing style.
Just like we all strive to get past stick figures.
So, yeah, there’s Randall Munroe. And now there’s McGettigan; with New Yorker styling to his panels and a sense of humor verging toward Kliban. And now I have to figure out some other way to explain basic cartooning to my daughter.
Then again, as tasks go, that’s one to hope for any day.
To the other, right. Relationships. Look, it’s one of those things we experience in daily life; now and again it comes up that we might witness others experiencing some sort of interpersonal crisis, and when you hear one say, “How was I supposed to know …?” the first instinct is to wonder how long one waited to ask.
What? In truth, you’d be surprised how many people need that lesson.
At least he didn’t slip peanuts into her chocolate chip cookies, you know?
(“But … but … how was I supposed to know secretly feeding you peanuts would kill you?”)
(No, really, the jokes only go downhill from there.)
McGettigan, Merp. “New Heights (#75)”. The Story Enthusiast. 5 April 2015.
Sometimes the problem with pointing out that something isn’t funny is that such a statement simply does not suffice to convey what is actually happening. To wit, Zach Weiner offered up a variation on a classic theme, the guardian angel versus the devil attendant.
And it’s true. This is not as funny as the gag is usually intended. And while one might suggest that it is not as funny as Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal usually is, that might be erroneous.
SMBC, quite often, simply isn’t funny.
But that’s the point.
There’s a grim irony to the chuckle, sure, but the adjective―grim―is sort of the point.
And this is something that art can do.
Irony is not always funny.
But sometimes, the joke seems nearly sublime.
Click the bait. Read the strip. Really, it’s not funny if you’ve ever actually experienced that sort of here and now, or then and there. But it is also of tremendous comfort to many, who might not otherwise be getting the message that they’re not the only one who feels this way.
And that essential communication? Well, it is true that we expect “comics” to be funny. Which is why we laugh at morbid editorial cartoons, or even the punch line this time around.
But comics do, in fact, fall under the paradigm of art, and sometimes artistic communication―even in the humor sector―requires that the art be something other than hilarious.
It’s a good punch line, following a great setup; but it’s not necessarily funny.
Nor are we in any condition right now to expound on the concept of pathos.
Weiner, Zach. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. 21 January 2015.